God, Faith & Identity from the Ashes: Reflections of Children and Grandchildren of Holocaust Survivors

God, Faith & Identity from the Ashes: Reflections of Children and Grandchildren of Holocaust Survivors


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Thursday, October 17


A Powerful, Life-Affirming New Perspective on the Holocaust

Almost ninety children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors—theologians, scholars, spiritual leaders, authors, artists, political and community leaders and media personalities—from sixteen countries on six continents reflect on how the memories transmitted to them have affected their lives. Profoundly personal stories explore faith, identity and legacy in the aftermath of the Holocaust as well as our role in ensuring that future genocides and similar atrocities never happen again.

There have been many books and studies about children of Holocaust survivors—the so-called second and third generations—with a psycho-social focus. This book is different. It is intended to reflect what they believe, who they are and how that informs what they have done and are doing with their lives.

From major religious or intellectual explorations to shorter commentaries on experiences, quandaries and cultural, political and personal affirmations, almost ninety contributors from sixteen countries respond to this question: how have your parents' and grandparents' experiences and examples helped shape your identity and your attitudes toward God, faith, Judaism, the Jewish people and the world as a whole?

For people of all faiths and backgrounds, these powerful and deeply moving statements will have a profound effect on the way our and future generations understand and shape their understanding of the Holocaust.

Praise from Pope Francis for Menachem Rosensaft's essay reconciling God's presence with the horrors of the Holocaust:

"When you, with humility, are telling us where God was in that moment, I felt within me that you had transcended all possible explanations and that, after a long pilgrimage—sometimes sad, tedious or dull—you came to discover a certain logic and it is from there that you were speaking to us; the logic of First Kings 19:12, the logic of that 'gentle breeze' (I know that it is a very poor translation of the rich Hebrew expression) that constitutes the only possible hermeneutic interpretation.

"Thank you from my heart. And, please, do not forget to pray for me. May the Lord bless you."

His Holiness Pope Francis


Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella of the Supreme Court of Canada

Historian Ilya Altman, cofounder and cochairman, Russian Research and Educational Holocaust Center, Moscow

New York Times reporter and author Joseph Berger, New York

Historian Eleonora Bergman, former director, Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw

Vivian Glaser Bernstein, former cochief, Group Programmes Unit, United Nations Department of Public Information, New York

Michael Brenner, professor of Jewish history and culture, Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich; chair in Israel studies, American University,  Washington, DC

Novelist and poet Lily Brett, winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Award, New York

New York Times deputy national news editor and former Jerusalem bureau chief  Ethan Bronner, New York

Stephanie Butnick, associate editor, Tablet Magazine , New York

Rabbi Chaim Zev Citron,  Ahavas Yisroel Synagogue and Yeshiva Ohr  Elchonon Chabad, Los Angeles

Dr. Stephen L. Comite, assistant clinical professor of dermatology, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York

Elaine Culbertson, director of a program taking American high school teachers to study Holocaust sites, New York

Former Israeli Minister of Internal Security and Shin Bet director Avi Dichter, Israel

Lawrence S. Elbaum, attorney, New York

Alexis Fishman, Australian actor and  singer

Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Ottawa

Dr. Eva Fogelman, psychologist and author, New York

Associate Judge Karen "Chaya" Friedman of the Circuit Court of Maryland

Natalie Friedman, dean of studies and senior class dean, Barnard College, New York

Michael W. Grunberger, director of collections, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC

David Harris, executive director, American Jewish Committee, New York

Author Eva Hoffman, recipient of the Jean Stein Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, London

Rabbi Abie Ingber, executive director, Center for Interfaith Community Engagement, Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH

Josef Joffe, editor-publisher, Die Zeit , Germany

Rabbi Lody B. van de Kamp, author; former member of the Chief Rabbinate of Holland and the Conference of European Rabbis, Holland

Rabbi Lilly Kaufman, Torah Fund director, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York

Filmmaker Aviva Kempner,  Washington, DC

Cardiologist Dr. David N. Kenigsberg, Plantation, FL

Author and Shalom Hartman Institute fellow Yossi Klein Halevi, Israel

Attorney Faina Kukliansky, chairperson, Jewish Community of Lithuania, Vilnius

Rabbi Benny Lau, Ramban Synagogue, Jerusalem

Amichai Lau-Lavie, founding director, Storahtelling, Israel/New York

Philanthropist Jeanette Lerman- Neubauer, Philadelphia

Hariete Levy, insurance actuary, Paris

Annette Lévy-Willard, journalist and author, Paris

Rabbi Mordechai Liebling,  Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Philadelphia

Knesset member Rabbi Dov Lipman, Israel

Rabbi Michael Marmur, provost, Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, Jerusalem

International banker Julius Meinl, president, Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, Prague

Knesset member and former journalist Merav Michaeli, Israel

The Right Honourable David Miliband, former foreign secretary, United Kingdom; president, International Rescue Committee, New York

Tali Nates, director, Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre,  South Africa

Eric Nelson, professor of government, Harvard University

Eddy Neumann, esq., Sydney, Australia

Mathew S. Nosanchuk, Director for Outreach, National Security Council, the White House, Washington, DC

Artist and author Aliza Olmert, Jerusalem

Couples therapist Esther Perel, New York

Sylvia Posner, administrative executive to the Board of Governors, Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, New York

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, executive vice president, New York Board of Rabbis

Dr. Richard Prasquier, past president, Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France (Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions), Paris

Richard Primus, professor of law, University of Michigan Law School

Professor Shulamit Reinharz, director, the Women’s Studies Research Center and the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, Brandeis University, MA

Chaim Reiss, CFO, World Jewish Congress

Jochi (Jochevet) Ritz-Olewski, former vice dean of academic studies, The Open University of Israel

Moshe Ronen, vice president, World Jewish Congress; former president, Canadian Jewish Congress, Toronto

Novelist and Fordham University law professor Thane Rosenbaum, New York

Rabbi Dr. Bernhard H. Rosenberg, Congregation Beth-El, Edison, NJ

Art historian and museum director Jean Bloch Rosensaft, New York

Menachem Z. Rosensaft, general counsel, World Jewish Congress and professor of law, New York

Hannah Rosenthal, former U.S. State Department special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, Wisconsin

Rabbi Judith Schindler, Temple Beth El, Charlotte, NC

Clarence Schwab, equity investor,  New York

Cantor Azi Schwartz, Park Avenue  Synagogue, New York

Ghita Schwarz, senior attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights, New York

Psychologist Dr. David Senesh, Tel Aviv

Florence Shapiro, former mayor, Plano, Texas, and former state senator, Texas

Rabbi Kinneret Shiryon, Kehillat YOZMA, Modi’in, Israel

David Silberklang, senior historian, Yad Vashem, Israel

Documentary film maker and author André Singer, London

Peter Singer, professor of bioethics, Princeton University

Robert Singer, CEO and executive vice president, World Jewish Congress

Psychologist Dr. Yaffa Singer, Tel Aviv

Sam Sokol, reporter, The Jerusalem Post , Israel

Philanthropist Alexander Soros, New York

Rabbi Elie Kaplan Spitz, Congregation B’nai Israel, Tustin, CA

Michael Ashley Stein, executive director, Harvard Law School Project on Disability

Rabbi Kenneth A. Stern, Congregation Gesher Shalom, Fort Lee, NJ

Maram Stern, associate CEO for diplomacy, World Jewish Congress, Brussels

Carol Kahn Strauss, international director, Leo Baeck Institute, New York

Aviva Tal, lecturer in Yiddish literature,  Bar Ilan University, Israel

Professor Katrin Tenenbaum, scholar on modern Jewish culture and philosophical thought, University of Rome

Dr. Mark L. Tykocinski, dean, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia

Rabbi Moshe Waldoks, Temple Beth Zion, Brookline, MA

Psychologist Diana Wang, president, Generaciones de la Shoá en Argentina, Buenos Aires

Author Ilana Weiser-Senesh, Tel Aviv

Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld, former senior aide to New York Governor George Pataki and U.S. Senator Alfonse D’Amato

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, Oregon

Sociologist Tali Zelkowicz, Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781683360933
Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
Publication date: 11/24/2014
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Menachem Z. Rosensaft, who was born in the Displaced Persons camp of Bergen-Belsen, is general counsel of the World Jewish Congress, and teaches about the law of genocide and war crimes trials at the law schools of Columbia and Cornell Universities. Appointed to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council by Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, he is founding chairman of the International Network of Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, senior vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants and a past president of Park Avenue Synagogue in New York City.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, who survived Auschwitz and Buchenwald, has been the preeminent voice of conscience and Holocaust memory throughout the seven decades since the end of World War II. In 1984, Professor Wiesel delivered the keynote address at the First International Conference of Children of Holocaust Survivors in New York City, and he has graciously allowed us to publish excerpts from that address as his charge to the post-Holocaust generations as we explore who we are, what we believe and what we stand for in the pages of this book.

Table of Contents

Prologue: To Our Children
by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel xv
Introduction: Living with Ghosts
by Menachem Z. Rosensaft xix

Part I
God and Faith 1
Yossi Klein Halevi 3
Rabbi Moshe Waldoks 7
Rabbi Lilly Kaufman 12
MK Rabbi Dov Lipman 16
Rabbi Michael Marmur 18
Aliza Olmert 24
Rabbi Chaim Zev Citron 29
Joseph Berger 30
Peter Singer 34
Judge Karen "Chaya" Friedman 38
Rabbi Elie Kaplan Spitz 41
Rabbi Lody B. van de Kamp 45
Rabbi Mordechai Liebling 49
Eric Nelson 53
Chaim Reiss 56
Rabbi Dr. Bernhard H. Rosenberg 58
Shimon Koffler Fogel 60
Lily Brett 62
Rabbi Kenneth A. Stern 66
Menachem Z. Rosensaft 68

Part II
Identity 77
Thane Rosenbaum 79
Eva Hoffman 83
Avi Dichter 86
Vivian Glaser Bernstein 90
Josef Joffe 92
Dr. Eva Fogelman 98
Rabbi Benny Lau 103
Sylvia Posner 108
Dr. Mark L. Tykocinski 111
Shulamit Reinharz 114
Alexander Soros 120
Alexis Fishman 122
Michael Brenner 124
Diana Wang 129
Richard Primus 132
André Singer 134
Dr. David Senesh 136
Tali Zelkowicz 142

Part III
A Legacy of Memory
Aviva Tal 151
Cantor Azi Schwartz 155
Amichai Lau-Lavie 157
Natalie Friedman 161
Ethan Bronner 163
Elaine Culbertson 167
Stephanie Butnick 169
Moshe Ronen 172
Faina Kukliansky 174
Annette Lévy-Willard 178
Julius Meinl 180
Esther Perel 183
Maram Stern 186
Clarence Schwab 188
Hariete Levy 190
Michael W. Grunberger 192
Jeanette Lerman-Neubauer 194
David Silberklang 197
Carol Kahn Strauss 199
Eleonora Bergman 202
Rabbi Joseph Potasnik 204
Dr. David N. Kenigsberg 207
Ilana Weiser-Senesh 209
Ilya Altman 211
Aviva Kempner 212
Katrin Tenenbaum 215
Lawrence S. Elbaum 217
Jochi (Jochevet) Ritz-Olewski 219
Jean Bloch Rosensaft 221

Part IV
Tikkun Olam : Changing the World for the Better
Rabbi Judith Schindler 229
The Right Honourable David Miliband 234
Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella 236
Senator Ron Wyden 241
MK Merav Michaeli 243
Michael Ashley Stein 246
Tali Nates 249
Dr. Richard Prasquier 254
Dr. Yaffa Singer 256
Robert Singer 259
Dr. Stephen L. Comite 262
Florence Shapiro 265
David Harris 267
Mathew S. Nosanchuk 270
Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld 272
Sam Sokol 275
Ghita Schwarz 278
Eddy Neumann 280
Rabbi Abie Ingber 282
Rabbi Kinneret Shiryon 286
Hannah Rosenthal 290

Acknowledgments 295
Glossary 298
Index of Contributors 304
Credits 306
Notes 307

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

God, Faith & Identity from the Ashes: Reflections of Children and Grandchildren of Holocaust Survivors 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
GJBG More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing exploration of the human spirit. If you want to understand the human capacity to overcome tragedy, read this book.  Wonderful portraits of resilience and optimism born in the Holocaust. Transforms the experience of those subjected to terror into a vital message of universal hope and human freedom. The most powerful book of the year. Give this book to anyone you know who is struggling to overcome personal challenges. It will give them hope and courage to move forward.
David613 More than 1 year ago
Truly Inspirational This book is an unbelievable collection of short essays written by children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors. Each essay shows a different perspective of how the legacy of the Holocaust impacted the writer’s life. I expected the book to be depressing or to focus on trauma in the aftermath of the Holocaust, but the essays are surprisingly positive, uplifting and inspirational. The contributors are from all over the world, and include politicians, authors, artists, media personalities, theologians, scholars, spiritual leaders and community leaders. Even though each writer was challenged with a common question on their identity as a child or grandchild of Holocaust survivors, the essays are all profoundly different. It was a fascinating and inspiring read, and I highly recommend the book to readers of all faiths.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A new way to understand the Holocaust that is meaningful to young people today. If you think you already know about the Holocaust, this book casts a completely new light on that era and its relevance today.